Companies Must Adopt Flexible and Compassionate Policies Especially During the Pandemic

 - Sakshi Post

The annual World Day for Safety and Health at Work (28 April) promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally but as a recent Forbes article by academician Karl Moore stated, individuals and teams also require psychological safety to perform to the best of their ability. Although post the pandemic, organisations are increasingly focusing on sanitation protocols to make their employees feel physically safe in the workspace, safety now has a more intangible dimension as well. 

As Mr. Alok Bansal, Visionet Systems India’s MD and Global Head of BFSI Business says, "Feeling safe also includes knowing that you can share your concerns with your team leaders without being silenced. That is a medical crisis, your company will stand by you. That it will provide you help if you are dealing with psychological issues. A safe workplace is also one that is gender-sensitive and welcomes diversity."

Mr. Alok Bansal thinks leadership does not just mean leading from the front but also showing compassion, flexibility and sensitivity so that employees feel valued, heard and seen. These are some of the steps his company Visionet Systems has taken to ensure workplace safety at many levels.

Gender-inclusive spaces

Be it leaders like Gitanjali Singh, the Head of Strategy and Client Success at Visionet, or a 70% rise in the number of women in the business process management space, Alok Bansal says, gender diversity is at the heart of Visionet Systems. He says, "A workspace where women are in leadership positions, and where they are encouraged to reskill themselves to grow further, all-female employees feel safe and empowered. We also discourage the use of gendered language and sensitise teams to biases. We are also encouraging women to join our skilling program, ‘Unnati for India’ so that the company can benefit from more diverse perspectives." 

Sensitive HR policies

Alok Bansal says without a committed and motivated workforce, no company can thrive and this is why HR policies must make space for the concerns, challenges and anxieties of employees. He adds, "During the toughest days of the pandemic, we took care of medical emergencies with insurance coverage, facilitated vaccinations and offered paid leave to those facing a health crisis or dealing with caregiving. We also offered flexible work options and provided a mental health helpline." For women employees, HR policies at Visionet include adequate maternity and period leave, equal pay, growth and mentorship opportunities.  

Open communication channels

A feeling of safety is also nurtured by open communication channels and especially during the pandemic, the leaders that made time to connect with their teams, left an indelible impact. Alok Bansal says, "We made sure to connect with teams and individuals over a virtual coffee hour at a time when physical interaction was impossible. It is important to make your team members feel that they are not just cogs in the wheel but individuals who are appreciated for their contribution to the company. If employees do not feel any connection with the organisation they work for, chances are, they will be demotivated and not give their best to it." When an employee feels safe sharing a personal or professional issue with a team leader or mentor, it fosters an atmosphere of trust that benefits every single stakeholder.

Recognition and rewards

It goes without saying that employees want to be appreciated for their contribution to their organisation and Alok Bansal says, "To acknowledge individual achievements and team-driven milestones is necessary at all times but especially during the pandemic when so many employees have gone beyond their personal limitations and challenges to deliver results. At Visionet, we know that just words are not enough and so incentivising achievements is part of our work culture. If employees feel good about the work they do, they will deliver better results than those who feel invisible and unappreciated."

Encourage work-life balance

At a time when hybrid and remote work models have blurred the line between the personal and the professional, how can employees safely maintain a work-life balance? Alok Bansal says, "A 360-degree work-life integration program is what helps us ensure that our teams work without feeling overwhelmed. During the pandemic, this meant giving caregivers and young parents the time and the space to focus on their families. We encourage downtime, and mental health breaks and ensure that our employees know that we have their back. We believe in nourishing human capital first because we know, this is where the real value of our company lies."

By Alok Bansal, Visionet Systems India’s MD and Global Head of BFSI Business

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